Oliver Alcorn, clarinet/tenor sax
b. New Orleans, LA, USA. 
d. 1981

Oliver E. Alcorn (clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone) born New Orleans, La., 3 august 1910. Brother of Alvin, somehow related to George McCullum in whose band he started. Then at the Alley Cabaret with leader Maurice Durand (trumpet), Walter Decou (piano), Wellington Dolton (banjo), and George Henderson (drums). Replaced Polo Barnes in and recorded with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra (New Orleans, autumn 1927). Rejoined Celestin in the early 1930s, later with Sidney Desvigne on the steamer Capitol, and Floyd Campbell. After World War II in Chicago, where he recorded with Little Brother Montgomery (1947) and St Louis Jimmy (1948). Still alive in 1970. (from "Deep South Piano" by Karl Gert zur Heide)

Ray Bloch, Orchestra Leader
d. March 29, 1982.
His bands were heard on the Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, and Larry Storch shows, as well as on The Gay Nineties Revue, and Songs for Sale show.

Lawrence Brown, Trombone
b. Lawrence, KS, USA.
d. Sept. 5, 1988, USA.
Best recalled for his workwith Duke Ellington Orch.
Biography ~ Scott Yanow
One of the great swing trombonists, Lawrence Brown tends to be underrated because he spent so much of his career with Duke Ellington's Orchestra. Actually, Brown's initial solos with Ellington upset some of Duke's fans because it was feared that his virtuosity did not fit into a band where primitive effects and mutes were liberally utilized. But over time, Brown carved out his own place in the Ellington legacy.
Lawrence Brown learned piano, violin, and tuba before deciding to stick to the trombone. He recorded with Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders (1929-1930) and Louis Armstrong (with Les Hite's Orchestra in 1930) in Los Angeles before joining Ellington in 1932, staying until 1951 when he left to join Johnny Hodges' new small group.

After 1955, Brown became a studio musician in New York, but then spent 1960-1970 back with Ellington (where he reluctantly had to play some solos with a plunger mute) before retiring. Although he only led two albums of his own (a 1955-1956 outing for Clef and 1965's Inspired Abandon for Impulse), Brown was well-featured on many recordings with Ellington through the years; "The Sheik of Araby" (1932) and "Rose of the Rio Grande" (1938) were favorites.

Claude Demetruis, songwriter
b. Bath, ME, USA.
Worked with Louis Jordan CLAUDE DEMETRIUS Born 3 August 1917, Bath, Maine Died 1 May 1988, New York City, New York 

Claude Demetrius (or DeMetrius) was a black songwriter, who started out in the music business in the 1940's, writing songs for such artists as Louis Jordan, Jimmy Witherspoon, Louis Armstrong and B.B. King. Probably his best-known composition from this era is "Ain't That Just Like A Woman" (1946), co-written with Fleecie Moore.

Louis Jordan told Arnold Shaw (about "Caldonia"): "Fleecie Moore's name is on it, but she didn't have anything to do with it. That was my wife at the time, and we put it in her name. She didn't know nothin' about no music at all. Her name is on this song and that song, and she's still getting money." (In: "Honkers and Shouters", page 71.) But Demetrius' best-known compositions of course are those for Elvis Presley: Mean Woman Blues, Hard Headed Woman, I Was The One (with three co-writers) and Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me (with Aaron Schroeder).

Strangely, countless websites allege that he also wrote "Dixieland Rock", with Fred Wise. He didn't. "Dixieland Rock" (from the film "King Creole") was written by Rachel Frank and Aaron Schroeder. Another white artist who recorded a Demetrius song is Rick Nelson ("Every Time I Think About You", on Decca).

While doing Internet research on Demetrius, it struck me how often his name is misspelled as "Demetruis". A Google search for "Claude Demetruis" results in 436 hits, one for "Claude Demetrius" in only 251. I began to doubt when I saw that even the ASCAP website, which in general is known for its thoroughness, enters him under Demetruis. (52 of his compositions are registered with ASCAP, none with BMI.) However, what really settled it for me was the Social Security Death Index (an indispensable source for my birthday research), which has filed our man under Demetrius and has only one entry for "Demetruis" in the entire USA.
Wikipedia Bio

Les Elgart, Leader/trumpet
b. New Haven, CT, USA.
d. July 29, 1995, (Heart Attack) Dallas, TX, USA.
("Les and Larry Elgart Orch." -Larry played Sax.)
*Some source say b. August 31.

Les Elgart (August 3, 1917, New Haven, Connecticut-July 29, 1995, Dallas, Texas) was an American swing jazz bandleader and trumpeter.

Lester Elliott (Les) Elgart began playing trumpet as a teenager, and by age 20 had landed professional gigs. In the 1940s he played in bands led by Raymond Scott, Charlie Spivak, and Harry James, and occasionally found himself in bands alongside brother Larry. Together they put together their own Les & Larry Elgart Ensemble in 1945, hiring Nelson Riddle, Ralph Flanagan, and Bill Finegan to do arrangements. The union was short-lived, however, due to the Musician's Union recording strike and the waning of swing jazz's popularity; they split in 1946.

In 1952, the pair reunited and released a substantial number of albums on Columbia Records, many to considerable sales success. Among their better-known tunes is "Bandstand Boogie", which was used by Dick Clark as the theme song for American Bandstand. Later in the 1950s Les moved away from performing to handling the band's business end, and had essentially stopped performing by the end of the decade.

In 1963, the pair reunited, hiring arrangers like Charles Albertine and Bobby Scott for material that tended more toward the contemporary easy listening sound. Les continued to work until his death from heart failure in Dallas, Texas in 1995.

Julian Niman, Piano/Leader
b. Upholland (Nr. Wigan), Lancashire, Eng. UK.
d. June 15, 1953, 
Prestwich Manchester, Eng. UK.

Charles James "Charlie" Shavers, trumpet
b. New York, NY, USA, d. July 8, 1971, New York, NY, USA.

In 1937, after having played with some local groups, Shavers briefly joined Tiny Bradshaw's band, and in the same year, went on to play with Jimmie Noone, Lucky Millinder, and John Kirby. He would remain with Kirby for some seven years.

In 1944, he left Kirby and joined Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, and stayed with Tommy for 10 years. During the 1950s and '60s, Shavers played mostly in small groups, sometimes as leader. He also toured as a "single" with Jazz At The Philharmonic. While with Kirby, Shavers composed the song "Undecided", a huge hit for Ella Fitzgerald, and "Why Begin Again" (original title was "Pastel Blue"). 

~ Scott Yanow
Charlie Shavers was one of the great trumpeters to emerge during the swing era, a virtuoso with an open-minded and extroverted style along with a strong sense of humor. He originally played piano and banjo before switching to trumpet, and he developed very quickly. In 1935, he was with Tiny Bradshaw's band and two years later he joined Lucky Millinder's big band. Soon afterward he became a key member of John Kirby's Sextet where he showed his versatility by mostly playing crisp solos while muted. Shavers was in demand for recording sessions and participated on notable dates with New Orleans jazz pioneers Johnny Dodds, Jimmy Noone, and Sidney Bechet.

He also had many opportunities to write arrangements for Kirby and had a major hit with his composition "Undecided." After leaving Kirby in 1944, Charlie Shavers worked for a year with Raymond Scott's CBS staff orchestra, and then was an important part of Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra from 1945 until past TD's death in 1956.

Although well-featured, this association kept Shavers out of the spotlight of jazz, but fortunately he did have occasional vacations in which he recorded with the Metronome All-Stars and toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic; at the latter's concerts in 1953, Shaver's trumpet battles with Roy Eldridge were quite exciting.

After Dorsey's death, Shavers often led his own quartet although he came back to the ghost band from time to time. During the 1960s, his range and technique gradually faded, and Charlie Shavers died from throat cancer in 1971 at the age of 53.
Charlie Shavers - Wikipedia

Cedric Wallace, Bass
b. Miami, FL, USA. 
d. 1985. 
Best recalled for his work with Fats Waller.

~ Chris Kelsey
Cedric Wallace's most notable association was with the pianist/vocalist Fats Waller; he frequently performed and recorded with Waller from 1938-1942, a time during which the pianist enjoyed his greatest popular success. Upon moving to New York in the early '30s, Wallace worked with a certain Reggie Johnson at the Saratoga Club and played with bandleader Jimmie Lunceford.

During and after his time with Waller, Wallace played and recorded with singers Una Mae Carlisle and Maxine Sullivan, the R&B musician Champion Jack Dupree, pianist Pat Flowers, and saxophonist Gene Sedric, among others. Wallace also led his own groups around New York in the '40s. He remained musically active into the '70s.

Mercy Dee Walton, piano
b. Waco, Texas, USA. d. 
Dec. 1962.
Perhaps best recalled for her 1957 cover of Mose Allison's "One Room Country Shack" She often recorded under the name of "Mercy Dee".Mercy was also a talented songsmith who wrote everything from lowdown Blues to R&B tunes. In 1955, the Bihari brothers', recording for the Flair label, cut her composition, "Come Back Maybellene," a rocking sequel to Chuck Berry's then-current hit "Maybelline".

~ Bill Dahl 
Mose Allison certainly recognized the uncommon brilliance of pianist Mercy Dee Walton. The young jazz-based Allison faithfully covered Walton's downtrodden "One Room Country Shack" in 1957, four years after Walton had waxed the original for Los Angeles-based Specialty Records (his original was a huge R&B smash).

Walton was a Texas émigré, like so many other postwar California R&B pioneers, who had played piano around Waco from the age of 13 before hitting the coast in 1938. Once there, the pianist gigged up and down the length of the Golden State before debuting on record in 1949 with "Lonesome Cabin Blues" for the tiny Spire logo, which became a national R&B hit. Those sides were cut in Fresno, but Los Angeles hosted some of the pianist's best sessions for Imperial in 1950 and Specialty in 1952-53.

Walton, who usually recorded under the handle of Mercy Dee, was a talented songsmith whose compositions ran the gamut from lowdown blues to jumping R&B items. A half dozen tracks for the Bihari brothers' Flair imprint in 1955 included "Come Back Maybellene," a rocking sequel to Chuck Berry's then-current hit.

After a lengthy layoff, Walton returned to the studio in a big way in 1961, recording prolifically for Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie label with his northern California compatriots: K.C. Douglas on guitar, harpist Sidney Maiden, and drummer Otis Cherry (some of this material ended up on Prestige's Bluesville subsidiary). It's very fortunate that Strachwitz took an interest in documenting Walton's versatility, for in December of 1962, the pianist died.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Emile Berliner
inventor/flat 78rpm
died in Washington, DC, USA.
Age: 78
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 - Medley (Introducing: "Bells"/"Tell Me, Little Gypsy")


Sara Martin - I'm Satisfied

Feathers and Frogs
  • How'd You Get That Way
  • Sweet Black Dog


Red Nichols' Five Pennies


Picaninny Jug Band - Bottle It Up And Go

*Russ Columbo

Ballin' the Jack”

From coast to coast,
From Canada to Mexico,
They're doin' a new dance
A tried-and-a-true dance
That will sweep the land
And you'll think it's so grand
You'll have to learn how to do it
So please don't boo woo it
Coz we've got this little dance
That's gonna rise to fame
It's sure to put most any other dance to shame
The turkey-trot, the bunny-hug, the tickley-toe
Will be forgotten when we start to go!
Mr. Leader, won't you start the syncopation?
And we'll begin our little demonstration...
Now, first you put your two knees
Close up tight.

Then you sway it to the left
Then you sway it to the right.
Step around the floor kind of nice and light
Then you twist around and twist around
With all of your might.

Stretch your lovin' arms straight out in space
Then you do the eagle rock with style and grace.
Swing your foot way round and bring it back
Now that's what I call ballin' the jack!
Ballin' the jack

"As You Desire Me" 
- Russ Columbo

As you desire me, so shall I come to you,
Howe'er you wander, so shall I be,
Be it forever, or be it just a day,
As you desire me, come what may.

I doubt not but you will do what you will with me,
I give my life to you 'cause you're my destiny.
And now, come take me, my soul is yours.

As you desire me, I come to you.
And now, come take me, my very soul is yours,
As you desire me, I come to you.

brought to you by...
Special Thanks To:
and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.